Fresh push for Catalan, focusing on school, medical centers, and audiovisual sector
"We do not have to make excuses to use the language," president says after presenting 100 measures
The Catalan government has launched a fresh push to boost the use of Catalan with an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Tuesday focusing on the language.
After the meeting, Catalan president Pere Aragonès presented a new program of 100 measures with initiatives being implemented or planned for next year focusing especially on schools, medical centers, and the audiovisual sector.
In the past few years, several surveys have shown a decrease in the use of Catalan, which has alarmed authorities.
A major questionnaire with 2018 data showed that only 36% of residents use Catalan as their main language, while in the Barcelona metropolitan area that figure stood at only 27.5%.
"We want to fully and freely live in Catalan," Aragonès said. "The government is committed to making sure Catalan is everywhere and that we do not have to make excuses to use it."
Schools are one of the most important areas being targeted by the new initiative, with authorities conscious of the recent controversy surrounding the High Court ruling that 25% of classes should be done in Spanish. The government is waiting for the Constitutional Court to clarify whether their recent decree countering that ruling, which excludes strict percentages, overrules the High Court.
Aragonès is "convinced" that the government decree is legally sound, although he acknowledged that there is a "problem" with the 26 schools that, for now, must apply the 25% of Spanish required by the High Court.
Language training among teachers is a "key element" of the administration's plans, and "multilingualism" in the secondary school teaching master's degree will be introduced. Teachers will also be asked to obtain the C2 level of Catalan and this year there will be an oral exam in Catalan for 6th grade and 4th-grade ESO students.
Another priority for the current executive is to ensure Catalan appears on television, in cinema, as well as on new platforms, with a special focus on "young people," leading to the creation of new subsidies to generate educational content in Catalan on TikTok.
The audiovisual communication law of Catalonia of 2005 will be updated to "legislate on the new challenges of language, audiovisual content, and the threats posed by new consumption."
When announcing plans to boost Catalan in the medical field, Aragonès focused on the elderly and people with "functional diversity," as they can find themselves in a more "vulnerable position."
For this reason, the government intends to come up with an agreement that would ensure that all patients can be attended in Catalan in all medical areas, including residential services, day centers, home assistance services, civic centers, and services for people with disabilities.
As part of the plans to boost the use of the language in the business world, the government will give companies who are sanctioned for an infringement of language rights the option to invest the amount of the fines in language training.
"Our aim is not to sanction," culture minister Natàlia Garriga assured, adding that the measure will be approved "shortly."
The executive will also revise consumer regulation to ensure that companies can serve customers in all languages.
The ERC executive has also promised to maintain funding for the AINA project through 2026 with €3 million per year allocated to the Barcelona Supercomputer Center.